ATC Board, Le Touquet Students, Council Meeting, Year of the Trail, and First Responders

Meeting Prep

Monday, in preparation for the Thursday council meeting, I contacted council members to hear of questions or concerns about the agenda. There was only one question, and it was about the Land Development Ordinance Amendments.

Atlantic Tire Championships Board

Monday night I met with the Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships board. Topics included Cary Tennis Park improvements and the potential for additional professional tournaments. Our meeting lasted about two and a half hours.

Earmarks for Cary

Tuesday I was notified by Congressman Nickel that he had a $5 million dollar submittal for Walnut Street Stormwater Management. We believe there is a good chance those federal funds will come to Cary.

NC Senator Gale Adcock

Tuesday evening I met with NC Senator Gale Adcock who served on the Cary council for years and was previously our Mayor Pro-Tem. It was great catching up with a good friend. We talked about everything from our private lives to local elections.

Wynston Ridge Homeowners Association Meeting

Tuesday night I gave a development update and answered questions at the Wynston Ridge HOA annual meeting. Since this subdivision is located near the Crossroads area, most of my comments and most of the questions were about that area.

Farmington Woods IB/PYP Magnet Elementary Birthday

Thursday afternoon I taped a brief message congratulating Farmington Woods Elementary for 20 years as an authorized IB/PYP World School. The IB stands for International Baccalaureate which means it offers a continuum of international education through four challenging, high quality educational programs to students aged 3 to 19. The PYP stands for Primary Years Programme. The IB/PYP program for children aged 3 – 12 nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that builds conceptual understanding.

Le Touquet Students Reception

Thursday before the council meeting several council members and staff greeted students from our sister city in Le Touquet, France. I talked to the chaperones, students, and host families during this time. Before leaving for the council chambers, we all posed for a picture. Once at the council chambers we posed for another picture presenting a gift to the delegation.

Council Meeting

The council meeting included six consent items, four public hearings, and no discussion items. Other than the consent items, no council decisions were made. Most of discussion at the meeting was on the public hearing for 21-REZ-12 which is a mixed use called Viridis at the Green Level Destination Center. The applicant proposes to build a mixed-use development to include up to 1,500 multifamily units, commercial and office uses. If approved this would be across the street from the proposed 500-bed hospital. Nearby residents expressed concerns about traffic and having to cross a four-lane busy road to get their mail. The council discussion included mostly positive comments about the green space, EV charging stations, and other environmentally friendly conditions.  

NC Metro Mayors

Friday I participated in a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors. Here is a summary of that meeting from the executive director:

General Update

  • It was a quiet week at the General Assembly as both chambers were on spring break.
  • A large number of bills are being filed as the bill filing deadlines approach.  The Senate bill filing deadline has already passed (last Tuesday).  Below are the remaining deadlines for the House. 
  • It is important to keep in mind that due to the fast-approaching deadlines, many bills that you see filed are not in their final form and more work will be done.
  • The crossover deadline is May 4.  This is the date that any bill that does not include a finance or appropriations provision must pass through its chamber of origin in order to be considered for the 2024 session.



  • This bill would do the following:
    • Increase the electrical vehicle fee from $140.25 to $180 and add a new $90 registration fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles
    • Eliminate the vehicle purchase tax cap for commercial Class A and Class B vehicles (would be taxed at the standard 3 percent Highway Use tax). 
    • Impose a per ride tax of $.50 on transportation network companies (Uber/Lyft)
    • Increase the cap on the number of potential toll road projects from 3 to 6 toll projects  
  • The bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee and received a favorable report and was referred to Senate Finance.
  • Stakeholder conversations are still ongoing – especially in regard to the tax cap provision as the trucking industry have expressed serious concerns on the impact on smaller trucking firms paying a much larger fee on the trucks that generally cost around $150,000. 
  • The total estimated revenue from all the current provisions would be $70 million/year.

STIP Grant Anticipation Notes S637

  • This bill would create a mechanism for you to use your borrowing capacity to move a project up in the STIP.
  • Encourage your finance and transportation staff to look at this bill and give their feedback.

Public Safety

Civilian Traffic Investigators – S251 and House Bill H140

  • Two of our cities already have this authority (Wilmington and Fayetteville) and it has been very successful.
  • It is heavily supported by the Police Chiefs Association, and we are hopeful it will move forward.
  • Our concern for progress remains on the Senate side.  Please continue to tell your House and Senate delegation about the importance of this tool for cities.

Economic Development

Noting of note this week

Local Revenues/Local Control- LAND USE and HOUSING Bills

The legislature has become keenly interested in affordable housing. But, a number of bills that have been introduced appear more focused on targeting the municipal role in zoning, planning and permitting processes and local authority in general rather than the myriad of challenges associated with affordability.  Some of the bills are plainly pre-empting local tools and processes, and most of the bills will not actually make progress on the wide spectrum of affordable housing needs in NC.  Metro Mayors Coalition member cities have a history of investing resources and seeking creative solutions, with many cities making increasing strides over the last few years. It is frustrating to those of us working on legislative and policy issues that there has not been a more collaboration around most of the bills introduced on this topic. We are now working in support of the NCLM’s coordinated efforts to educate and work diligently with legislators to improve legislation that has been filed.  Please continue to reach out to your delegation about these bills and voice concern, pointing to your own efforts already in place in your city.

Addressing the Workforce Housing Crisis S317

Land Use Clarification and Changes S675

are linked here  and attached.

Regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units H409 / S374

NC Housing Choice Incentive H294

Regulation of Short-Term Rentals S667

Year of the Trail

Saturday morning I joined council members Ryan Eades and Lori Bush at the Year of the Trail celebration. In attendance were NC DNCR Secretary Reid Wilson and Representative Julie von Haefen who provided comments. In my remarks I made the following statements:

“Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve was purchased by the State in the 1970s, and continues to provide education and volunteer opportunities, almost every day.”

“It is estimated that around 55,000 hours of volunteer hours have been given to trail maintenance and other improvement projects since programming started in 1993. And each year, the number grows substantially.”

“The Year of the Trail demonstrates our commitment to promoting healthy and active lifestyles and fostering a sense of community and connectivity among our residents. Our trails have become an integral part of Cary’s identity through the support of our citizens, staff, and council.”

After remarks all in attendance gathered for a photo. This was followed by a walk along the trail.

First Responders Banquet at VFW Post 7383

Saturday night I joined council member Jack Smith at the First Responders Banquet at VFW Post 7383. In addition to a great meal, we were treated to hearing stories about great first responders. The recipients for the firefighter award and the police officer award were from Cary. In attendance were the Cary fire chief and several firefighters, the Cary police chief and several police officers, NC Highway patrol, EMS, and other first responders from surrounding jurisdictions. A big thank you to VFW Post 7383 for celebrating these heroes.

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

Once again I get to be amazed by my colleagues and what we accomplish together with your support, Council.
This time it’s being recognized with the IDC Smart Cities North America Award’s for our LoRa network – a wireless communication protocol optimized for long-range, low-power Internet of Things applications.
Awards like these bring special, high-profile attention to our efforts, which is appreciated and deserved.
At the same time, I want to recognize our “everyday heroes” in 911 during this National 911 Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Day-in and day-out, they report for work in one of the most stressful environments that exist, knowing full well that each time the phone rings, they may be the difference between life and death, literally. For context, their phones ring about 700 times each day.
In appreciation,

Cary Sister City Visit From Le Touquet, France

At Thursday’s Council meeting, Council welcomed nine culinary students and their chaperones from Cary’s Sister City, Le Touquet, France. The students spent the afternoon touring Town Hall campus and enjoyed a reception at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center before attending the meeting. The students visited as part of a cultural/culinary exchange with Cary Sister Cities and Wake Tech. They will spend five weeks working and learning at the Umstead, Maximillian’s, Academy Street Bistro, and Hank’s Downtown Dive. The Cary Sister Cities organization was also recognized for its 35th anniversary during the meeting. 

Cary Hosts the North Carolina Leadership Forum

On Tuesday, Cary hosted the Duke North Carolina Leadership Forum at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center. The NC Leadership Forum provides an opportunity for civic, business, and political leaders from across North Carolina to discuss issues central to the future of our state. With a cohort including Council Member Lori Bush, we are proud to have Cary representation in this statewide convening. During their time in Cary, Director of Housing and Community Partnerships, Morgan Mansa presented on Cary’s unique approach to housing affordability and the Cary Housing Plan. The group also toured Cary sites related to this topic and the robust economic growth in Cary.

Senior Advisory Board – Transportation Updates and Q&A with Staff

Transportation staff presented to the Senior Advisory Board and Council Liaison Carissa Johnson, providing updates on various street, sidewalk, bike, greenway, and transit projects. The board was particularly interested in the future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project from Raleigh to downtown Cary, CASSI, the autonomous vehicle pilot circulating in Bond Park, sidewalk projects  that fill in existing gaps, and  future greenways, including Higgins IV greenway and the Walnut Creek greenway to South Hills. GoCary staff also demonstrated how a transit rider in a wheelchair boards a GoCary bus. Staff regularly hears that residents of all ages want transportation choices and making those connections across modes is a priority and supports the goals of the Imagine Cary Community Plan.

Cary Supports Green Transportation Demo Days

This week Cary supported the NC Clean Energy Technology Center with their annual demonstration days in Garner and Jacksonville. The Clean Transportation Demonstration Days give government entities across North Carolina information and experience with clean transportation technologies. Staff attended various educational and product training sessions on electrification, infrastructure, and alternative fuels. Cary supported both events by providing our Ford Lightning, Tesla Model 3, and Tesla Model Y PD. Cary staff from Fleet Management and the Police Department were present to provide riding opportunities and share insight on the operation and capabilities of the electric vehicles and how other agencies may implement some in their fleets.

2023 Street Improvements Project Update

Construction of the 2023 Street Improvements project is scheduled to begin the week of April 17. This project includes 19 miles of Cary streets to be repaved or patched. Crews will take 3-4 weeks to make concrete repairs, including upgrading ADA curb ramps and replacing damaged curb and gutter. Street repaving is expected to begin in mid-May, and the project is scheduled to be completed by winter.

Downtown Cary Park Tours

This week the Downtown Cary Park team were busy providing tours of the construction project. The Cary Legal Department hosted their counterparts from Apex to share lessons learned from development, from property acquisition to design and construction. Then Assistant Town Manager Shelley Curran hosted partners from the City of Raleigh and Dix Park Conservancy. The last group was the Future Master Firefighters group. Joy and the team did a great job providing wonderful tours and the visitors were very impressed with the project. 

Design Coordination with Cary Elementary

A meeting with Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS), Cary, and Cary’s design consultant Exult was held on April 12 to continue coordination efforts as the design phase for Higgins Phase IV continues. WCPSS was receptive to design concepts, including arborist recommendations on preserving mature-growth trees along the corridor and how this project will help promote healthy and active lifestyles by encouraging children to walk and bike to school. Topics of discussion included:

  • Design considerations along the school property
  • Right of way impacts and acquisition approach
  • Schedule including Federal grant milestones

Introducing Cary’s New EAP Provider

Human Resources launched a new employee assistance program (EAP) this week featuring our exciting, accessible, modern provider: BHS. Featuring confidential, no-cost services for eligible employees and their immediate household members BHS encompasses all dimensions of well-being to help employees address personal and professional challenges through a robust offering of skill-building resources that support mental, emotional, intellectual, social, and financial well-being. Employees joined the conversation throughout the week by attending ‘pop-ups’ at various Cary locations, where representatives from BHS and Cary’s Total Employee Health team answered questions, showcased the many programs, services, and tools now available, and shared some goodies and giveaways.

Wastewater Nutrient Removal 2022

Cary’s North and South Cary Water Reclamation Facilities are among the best-performing wastewater plants for their size and scale among the Neuse River Compliance Association (NRCA). In 2022 Cary treated more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater and achieved 97 percent nitrogen removal through biological nutrient reduction without supplemental chemicals. This high level of performance recovered approximately 1.8 million pounds of nitrogen from Cary’s wastewater, keeping it out of the Neuse River basin and meeting Cary’s commitment and the NRCA’s mission of protecting the Neuse River and Estuary.

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents The Hundred Dresses

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre hosted its first mainstage theatre production since 2019. Twenty-Two participants aged 9-16 acted and worked behind the scenes to tell the story based on bullying, acting as a bystander, and the repercussions of these acts in 1930s small-town America. The performances on March 31-April 2 at the Cary Arts Center drew in 322 total audience members.

First Bike Plan Focus Group Meeting

We are excited to share that the first Bike Plan Focus Group meeting for Cary was held on Monday. The citizen group will assist with input on developing Cary’s upcoming Bike Plan and champion community engagement and advocacy efforts. Their insights will help create a safe, convenient, and enjoyable multimodal network that benefits all community members. During the meeting, the group discussed the project schedule, network analysis and development, project scope, and upcoming engagement opportunities for the community. The information shared at the meeting is available on the Bike Cary project page.

Easter Egg Hunts

Marla Dorrel Park, Alston Ridge Middle School, and WakeMed Cross Country Course became the sites of Easter Egg hunts for over 500 children. Children could visit with the Easter Bunny, Katal Dragon, Disney characters, and other entertainers while waiting for the egg hunt to begin. The partnership between Marla Dorrel, Kids Together Board members, 20 Teen Council volunteers, PRCR and Public Works made these events successful for kids of all abilities.

Upcoming Meetings

Athletic Committee
April 17
 6:00 p.m.

National Preservation Month of HPC
April 17
7:00 p.m.

Public Art Advisory
April 19
6:15 p.m.

Greenway Committee
April 20
6:00 p.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • A complaint about a rezoning proposal for multi-family on Green Level West Road.
  • A complaint about storm runoff from a development site in MacGregor
  • A complaint about police not enforcing expired license plates (not true)
  • A complaint that the town should have quite zones near the rail tracks
  • A complaint that the town is doing nothing about homelessness (not true)
  • A complaint that the town is not redacting personal information from public records

Next Week

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a Youth Villages Breakfast event, an Earth Day celebration at Kingswood Elementary, a meeting of the CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s) Executive Board, a Cary Chamber Elected Officials Dinner, welcoming remarks for North Fulton County Georgia Regional Chamber, a joint meeting with Cary and Morrisville’s councils, a meeting of the North Carolina Metro Mayors, and the ACC tennis championships at Cary Tennis Park.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, April 23rd, 2023. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communication with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to and email personal comments to

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